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Keywords:

  • migration;
  • place attractiveness;
  • residential preferences;
  • destination selection;
  • life-course;
  • Sweden

ABSTRACT.

The attractiveness of places is currently gaining a high policy salience in policymakers' efforts to draw mobile capital. Yet, while there are a growing number of empirical studies considering the migration of people and the attractiveness of places, there is an acute lack of conceptual understanding of the phenomena that hamper discussions between researchers and policymakers. This article suggests a conceptual framework whereby place attractiveness can be better understood from a migration perspective. The empirical material for this article mainly draws upon interviews that were carried out with migrants who seem to have considered at least one alternative in their search for a suitable destination. The conceptual framework, which comprises the main result of the article, illustrates that needs, demands and preferences are central and empirically identifiable components for properly appreciating place attractiveness in a migration context. It is argued that the attractiveness of places increases with the successive fulfilment of these factors; but on the other hand, the more factors a migrant seeks to fulfil in his or her destination selection, the fewer the choice possibilities. The article moreover shows how a life-course perspective needs to be integrated in such analyses since not only do migrants' needs, demands and preferences depend upon their current life-course phase situation, their resources and constraints are also likely to correlate with the life-course. The conceptual framework can be used to ease understanding between researchers and policymakers in issues related to place attractiveness and the migration of relatively affluent migrants with choice opportunities.